POSTED BY DANNY CHOO On Tue 2012/01/03 16:33 JST in Japanese Pop Culture

Miko ] are young female attendants who can be found at Shinto shrines performing ceremonies and other odd jobs such as staffing the shrine shop.
At the beginning of the year, selected girls from all over Japan get to become a Yuki Musume or "Fortune Girl" where they perform a spiritual cleansing ceremony at Keta Taisha shrine in the Ishikawa Prefecture.

Member Ellcy90 went along to take some photos for us.
I have a bit of a fetish for Miko - love the flowing red dress and their white shirts. They look so...innocent and pure ^^;
Interestingly enough, many moons ago (and possibly at some present day shrines), Miko were required to be virgins - according to Wikipedia.

"Miko" is translated into English as a "Shrine Maiden." Other terms such as prophet, medium, priestess, nun and even witch or sorceress is used - Wikipedia. Nun is probably the closest out of the bunch.

A place where you can be guaranteed to see Miko is at Meiji Jingu in Harajuku.

Back to the ceremony. The Miko line up and get ready for their chanting sessions.

The Miko then start to do their chanting.

I notice that Ellcy90 took quite a few shots of the miko on the far left ^^;

After chanting, the Miko then jog off to the nearby beach. They then chant "Essa, Essa" as they jog - extremely cute ^^; You can see some video footage of this ceremony here which was taken a few years ago. Also checkout the Youtube video below.

The stone gate is called a Torii which can be found at the entrance to a Shinto shrine. It marks the boundary between where humans live and the holy grounds.

The gods welcome the Miko by conjuring up huge gusts of wind.

The boat you was on sinks after hitting an endangered whale and you are bobbing up n down in the ocean.
You see a maid and a miko calling to you for help who are also in the water. They both look sweet and gorgeous with big anime eyes.
But alas, you can only rescue either one and swim with her to the nearby deserted island. Who do you choose to rescue?

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And this the shrine where the ceremony took place. Keep your eye on the site for the shrine to see when they will have the next one if you are interested in going.

Out of all traditional Japanese wear, the miko is my favorite ^^;